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Russia rejects Europe's UN draft resolution on Iran

RUSSIA: Russia rejected a draft UN resolution put forward by European powers targeting Iran's nuclear programme, saying the proposed measures did not advance objectives agreed on earlier by major world powers.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the resolution put forward Wednesday by Britain, France and Germany would not be effective in containing Iran's programme and contradicted the consensus reached by the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany.

"I think that in this respect the draft resolution that has been presented clearly does not further the objectives that the six powers agreed on earlier," Lavrov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

Those goals, Lavrov said, are preventing proliferation of "sensitive technology" without the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, while also keeping open "all necessary channels of communication with Iran."

The foreign ministry's deputy head, Sergei Kislyak, said separately that Russia was "carefully studying" the draft resolution. However, a "long negotiating process is required" to find a mutually acceptable decision, he was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Russia has long resisted the West's push for tough sanctions, partly due to a lucrative contract to construct Iran's first civilian nuclear power station at Bushehr.

The draft resolution, which proposes "necessary measures" to prevent nuclear and missile technology from reaching Iran, does not directly mention the construction work at Bushehr.

The United States has called on Russia to halt nuclear cooperation with Iran, but France's UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said the Europeans favoured exempting the lucrative Bushehr project.

Kislyak told Interfax: "There are much bigger problems there than the construction of the Bushehr station."

In comments released Saturday, Lavrov repeated Russia's insistence that Iran respect international demands on its nuclear programme, but also said: "We cannot support and will actively oppose any attempt to use the Security Council to punish Iran or to use Iran's nuclear programme in order to promote the idea of regime change."

The draft warns that the Security Council would "consider further measures" if Iran still refused to comply with a demand that it freeze uranium enrichment, a process used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors but which, if extended, can also provide the raw material for bombs.

Moscow, Friday, AFP

 

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